Monday, December 5, 2016

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bars

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Sometimes, I really want chocolate chip cookies, but I don't want to keep getting up and down from what I'm doing to take multiple cookies out of the oven to cool on cookie racks. Lazy, right?!?!? I know....and I own that laziness! And that where the cookie bar comes into play.


Mix it all up in your stand mixer or by hand. Dump it all into a 9x13 pan and shove that puppy in the oven. Voila! 20ish minutes later you've got chocolate chip cookies....in the form of bars. And...I find with the bars...I don't eat as many! Bonus:)

So, enjoy this recipe. It's super simple, even your kids couldn't mess it up!


  • 2 Eggs


  • 1 cup Butter or margarine

Baking & Spices

  • 3/4 tsp Baking soda
  • 1 cup Brown sugar
  • 1 cup Chocolate chips
  • 3 cups Flour
  • 3/4 tsp Salt
  • 2 tsp Vanilla
  • 3/4 cup White sugar

  • Instructions:
  • 1. Cream butter, sugars, and vanilla together. Add in eggs.
  • 2. Stir in flour, salt and baking soda until combined.
  • 3. Gently fold in chocolate chips and nuts if desired. (I did not desire;)
  • 4. Spread in a greased 9x13 pan. Bake at 350* for 20-30 minutes, or until golden brown on top.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Beauty Favorites // Fall 2016

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The weather in Coastal Virginia has finally (other than today's 75* surprise;) decided to join the season of Fall. And with that, comes a change in the air that can wreak havoc on your summer hair and skin. It's this time of the year that I move onto creamier, more emollient products. Ones that will nourish your hair and skin during the dry winter months. For me, with my naturally curly hair and combination skin...these products are helping me transition out of summer into the cooler months on a budget!

TRESemme Botanique Hair Mask: I use this once a week to add moisture back into my curly hair. Curly hair is already drier than most, so this mask gives it that extra oomph that it needs this time of the year. Plus, it smells really great!!

Carols Daughter Hair Milk: I don't wash my hair everyday because 1. it's not good for it and 2. it's time consuming! On the days that I don't pile it up on my head in a bun and actually dry it curly, this refresher spray is a lifesaver. I'll go to bed the night before with it up in an elastic and then the next morning spray this on my locks, use the diffuser on my hairdryer and voila....I'm good to go for another day. Truly great stuff!!

Burt's Bees Sensitive Facial Cleansing Towelettes / Clinique Clarifying Lotion #3: These are actually a year round staple for me. I have combination skin that can be sensitive at times. The towelettes get the majority of the day's makeup and grime off before I use my clarisonic for thorough cleansing. Then I follow up with the the clinique lotion on a fluffy cotton pad to refresh my skin. Feels oh so good:)

Clinique All About Eyes Rich: As I get older one of the areas that I'm really trying to combat is my under eye area. Stress and DNA have both brought out the puffiness and dark circles unfortunately. I started using this super rich eye cream in October and it's made a world of difference. I can feel the skin below my eyes tighten after application and I've noticed a considerable reduction in puff and darkness over the last few weeks. This is probably going to be a year-round staple for me. I'm totally sold!

Clinique Moisture Surge: To combat the extra dry air that has descended upon us, I use a humidifier at night and this gel-cream twice daily. It's cool and refreshing and doesn't make my combination T-zone oily. I also find that it makes my foundation go on a lot smoother and that's always a plus in my book!

So there you have it....my current cool weather hair and skin favorites. 
When we get into the thick of winter, I'll share some of my other faves...
especially those items that keep my whole body soft and healthy.


Saturday, November 12, 2016

My Norfolk // Colley Avenue

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One of the ironic things about living where I do is that I'm only 2 blocks from Colley Avenue and I just don't spend enough time there. "Colley" as it's referred to by us locals is the main restaurant, shops road that runs through our little hamlet of Ghent. It's less than 1 mile long and it has at minimum 10 restaurants and countless small business shops.

Last weekend my sister and I ventured down to our favorite eatery No Frill Bar & Grill. The weather was one of those perfect fall days....chilly when you stand still with bright, unfiltered sunshine that warms you up the longer you walk. We sat on the patio and had Funky Chicken salads, tuna melts and iced tea. It was really nice.

Afterward, we hit up my two favorite shops, A. Dodson's and Le Marche. Both were decorating for the Christmas season and it was so tempting to buy our each shop!! I'm kinda obsessed with the bird figurines with crowns on their heads....and I definitely bought one:)

So, I wonder where my camera will take me this weekend? Be sure to check back soon!!


Friday, November 11, 2016

This Week....

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This week has been shit. Unless of course you're on the other team, then it's been fantastic. And there's the problem with our country. We are so divided it's scary.

The question now is where do we who've had a shit week go? I'm not sure at this point. I don't ever claim to be super intelligent about politics, I'm not that girl who's going to have a down and dirty debate with you about Republican vs. Democrat policy. I just know what my core being believes and I follow my heart with that.

I know that for me.... racism, homophobia, xenophobia, sexism, Islamaphobia and misogyny are wrong and something that I can never, ever support. Our President-elect has fostered all of these things over the last 12 months and because of that, I'm truly scared for our country and where it is headed.

So that leaves us kinda stuck for the moment, at least that's how I feel. Stuck. Numb. Angry. Sad.....

I don't pretend to think a lot of people flock to this blog, so I'm kinda just writing for myself here. Trying to figure it all out and....and....I dunno.

What I do know right now is that I need to practice self-care for the foreseeable future. I'm creating and photographing the beauty that is around me. I'm listening to music more, buying flowers for the house and eating well. But, I'm also not taking any shit and standing up for what I believe. I'll never apologize for being against those traits above and I will push you to understand that by supporting the candidate our country elected, you are doing just that. Sorry if you don't want to hear that....I don't want to type it. Yet, this election has unearthed a long simmering, festering truth about much of the United States. We are damaged and broken and somehow we need to rise above all of this and find a way to be better human beings.

And it starts with you....

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

The Crown

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If you're like me and missing Downton Abbey, I'm told the next best thing is to watch this series on Netflix!

I'll let you know my thoughts on it when I finish....


Sunday, November 6, 2016

Life Lately // A Sunny Sunday Walk

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This afternoon I met up with my sister Katie for a walk through my neighborhood. It's such a beautiful time of the year and it's a crime to not take advantage of the great weather! It will be cold before we know it and the fierce winds blowing on our faces will likely keep up indoors more.

Katie lives about 30 minutes from me now so we don't get to see each other as much as we used to when she lived down the street from me. So now days we have to make more of an effort to connect, me going to her town and then she comes into "the big city" to see me;) Life changes and it's how we learn to roll with those changes that matter most. Do I miss having her closer by? Absolutely. Am I happy she's building a family and home of her own, even if it's farther from me? Absolutely :)

One of our favorite places to walk here in Ghent, is an area called The Hague. Not to be confused with the Hague in the Netherlands....this is a neighborhood that connects to mine. It's where the swells live as my grandpa likes to say;) There were a lot of geese out along with bright blue skies, sparkling water and warm sun sifting through the trees!

The rest of the afternoon was spent grabbing lunch at a local favorite restaurant and perusing the local shops on Colley Avenue and buying goodies:) Basically a top notch Sunday!! And since you know I like lists....here are a few things that I'm loving as we go into this 2nd week of November:

  • Lazy kitties in the sun
  • Creme Brule lattes
  • The Netflix miniseries - The Fall
  • Pumpkins and orange fairy lights
  • New olive green suede booties
  • Michael Buble's new CD
  • E.L.F. lip pencils
  • Clinique moisture surge
  • Chicken quesadillas with avocado
  • Mastin Labs new iphone app - Filmborn (which all these images were taken with!)

Have a great week everyone! And don't forget to VOTE this Tuesday. This election is so important to the future of our beautiful country:)



Tuesday, October 18, 2016

What's Inspiring Me Now

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Creativity requires cultivation on a daily basis. Right now, these are just a few of the things that are inspiring me:)

  • Mary Jane shoes. To me, they're the perfect shoe! Feminine, vintage and practical. This is a shoe that won't fall off as you're walking down the stairs or running to your car between the rain-drops!
  • New York. I need to travel and travel soon. I really want to get back to NYC and then even further north to Boston, Newport and Maine. 
  • Autumn twinkle lights. There's something special about the colors of fall and when combined with tiny sparkle lights.....it's magical :)
  • Camel coats. I'm hoping to add a camel coat to my wardrobe this season. It's so classic and timeless. 
  • Pups in wreaths! I really want to shoot some pets for the holidays this year! I think I'll try to enlist the help of my nephew....
  • Dream kitchen. Siiiiigh. Hoping to move to a better and larger space next year and this kitchen is exactly what i'm dreaming of!
  • Green. Having cats makes it hard to have live plants in the house. Thinking these giant fronds would make a great print to add to my walls!
Where do you get your creativity from?
What's inspiring you right now?
Thank you to Pinterest for the above images:)
<3 Jenn

Sunday, October 16, 2016

Life Lately // Keep Love In Your Heart

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Hello dear friends, it's been a few weeks since I last checked in. I've been having some computer issues, I think it's time to invest in a new one. Siiiigh....adulting is such fun right?! Anywho, not gonna let this get me down!

So....what's been going on lately? Well, it's officially fall now. Although Coastal Virginia still wants to wear her summer sundress and sandals...it's going to be 80* tomorrow and the upper 70's till Friday. But then, come next Saturday we will be in the 60's and I'm hopeful that will be the end of the heat. I know we'll be begging for warm, sun-filled days in the months to come...but right now, I want to wear my boots, sweaters and tights. I want to open my windows and keep them open. I want to see the leaves on the trees change colors then drop to the ground, creating a layer of colors to walk on. That beautiful "crunch, crunch, crunch" Ahhhhhh, yes!

We are also thick in the ugly center of our 2016 presidential debate. And it is truly ugly. I've never in my life seen or heard anything so sad and disheartening. That sick pit in my stomach isn't the sushi or meatball sub I ate the other day....it's the result of opening up twitter or turning on the news and seeing what our "leaders" are doing or saying. I think it's created a sickness across our nation, people are stressed our and anxious over this election. It's just not healthy.

So, we need to practice some self-care right now.

I deleted my Face Book account last week to start with. Every time I logged on I felt my blood pressure rising and my anger tripling. Engaging with several people, just to try to get a point across proved futile and I just decided....I'm done. It's the best feeling ever. Social media is a great thing, it's also a really horrible thing. I think we all need to individually decide how it works for us and how much we want it inter-twined in our daily life. Personally, I don't miss it. I have 30 days to decide if I want to re-activate my account before it's permanently deleted and I really don't see myself going back. (Yet, I do want to keep my business page and unfortunately you can't just have a business page without a personal page. So, alas....I'll likely keep my account active so that I can start posting on Orange Tree Square again...... Stay tuned.)

Another thing I'm doing it surrounding myself with flowers. They make me happy. They're delicate and vulnerable, like my heart lately. But when they bloom, they're bright and bold and magnificent. They cheer up a dingy space and they remind me of the good in this world. Because, there still is good in this world. We just have to remind ourselves of it:)

"Keep love in your heart. A life without is is like a sunless garden when the flowers are dead."
~ Oscar Wilde 

Here's hoping that you have a beautiful week ahead. Planning to update my computer situation soon too, and with that I'll be blogging more! I have so much I want to say and share with you all....

<3 Jenn

Monday, September 5, 2016

Life Lately // A Long Weekend & Honesty

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Labor Day. Can you believe it's September already? The kids are all going back to school, those gross PSL drinks are showing up all over my timelines, and it's only 3.5 months until Christmas. Ugh.....

This summer. I wish I had lovely things to say about it, but if I'm nothing else around here, I'm completely transparent. This summer has not been a good one for this girl. I've struggled on many fronts this summer. Physically and emotionally this has been a hard season. I've been out of sorts since early Spring, trying to be positive when all I've really wanted to do was bury myself under the covers and hibernate until the Fall. 

I don't feel comfortable in my own body anymore and I feel as though I've stepped over a ledge that I cannot pull myself up from. It's no secret to those that know me well that I'm overweight. I have been for most of my adult life. My first "diet" was in the 9th grade and since then it's been a tumultuous relationship between me and food. I love it. A little too much. And my brain doesn't always know when to say "stop" or "don't eat that, it's bad for you!"....so here I am. I'm anxious all the time. I've shut myself off from those that I care most about. I get up each day, go to work, come home, watch some TV, eat something, go to bed and start it over again the next day. Weekends, I sometimes don't come out of my apartment until Sunday evening. 

I'm not comfortable writing this. I'm also not looking for "It will all be okay, tomorrow's another day!" or "Hope that you're okay, I'm here if you need me." I know that. That's the think about being stuck where I'm stuck. You know that reaching out and talking to someone or getting outside for some fresh air is good for you. That it will likely make you feel better about things....but you still don't do it. 

Until you reach that point.....

That's what this 3 day weekend has been for me. It's been a wake-up call for me that no one else can fix what's broken in me. That if I want to make a change, only I can do it. I've been sick on and off for almost 3 weeks now. I know part of that is due to my action to be inactive. It's a culmination of eating french fries, WAWA iced coffees, donuts and chocolate Pop-tarts. It's sitting on my ass watching the entire first 3 seasons of The Americans and sleeping 9-12 hours on the weekends. 

So, this weekend I tried to take a few baby steps toward change. I reached out to a friend that I've woefully neglected over the past months. I took a few loads of old clothes to the donation bin in town. I threw out all the crap in my fridge. I ate fresh fruit and vegetables and eggs and BLT sandwiches. I did bake some cookies, but used alternatives to butter (yogurt!) in hopes of trying something new. I opened some windows to let in fresh air at night. I played music and started a new book instead of laying in front of the TV. I went for a small walk Sunday evening, even though I just wanted to stay inside. 

I tried. I showed up. I grabbed hold of roots on the side of the cliff.....

And I started the hard process of pulling myself back up over that ledge I fell off of in early Spring.... I hope you'll stick around to see some of the other changes that I have planned over the coming year. It's scary to put your truth out there for the world to hear, but it's also very freeing:)